Wednesday, September 15, 2004

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Why my probability of voting for Alan Keyes is zero

I've tried not to blog about the Illinois Senate race because it's just embarrassing to Republicans, but Noam Scheiber reminds me of this jaw-dropping story by Rick Pearson in yesterday's Chicago Tribune on how Alan Keyes plans to win the race:

Declaring that his campaign strategy is dependent on controversy, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes told the state's top GOP donors at a recent closed-door meeting that he plans to make "inflammatory" comments "every day, every week" until the election, according to several sources at the session.

The sources said Keyes explained that his campaign has been unfolding according to plan and likened it to a war in which lighting the "match" of controversy was needed to ignite grass-roots voters.

"This is a war we're in," one source recounted Keyes as saying. "The way you win wars is that you start fires that will consume the enemy."

Keyes' comments came during a 40-minute address to about 20 leading Republican fundraisers and donors Thursday at the posh Chicago Club. The sources asked not to be identified to prevent additional pre-election controversy within an already divided GOP.

At the session, the sources said, Keyes denied that he has engaged in name-calling in his campaign. But he likened Democratic opponent Barack Obama to a "terrorist" because Obama, a state senator, voted against a legislative proposal pushed by abortion foes, sources said.

Then there's this bizarre proposition:

Keyes also said the repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which created the direct public election of senators, was a "critical" issue of his campaign, the sources said. The Republican contender said the method spelled out until 1913 in the Constitution, in which state legislators chose U.S. senators, would bring more accountability to government.

There's now at least a 60% chance that in this general election I'm going to vote for John Kerry and Barack Obama.

Excuse me, I have to go lie down for a while.

posted by Dan on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM


I've always wondered whether Alan Keyes is actually a mole created by the Democrats. If not, they should work on this. He is such a perfect caricature, it's hard to believe he's real.

posted by: MWS on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

TNR had an article a while back about Keyes' value to the Bush campaign: motivate the base to vote in border markets like St. Louis MO, Kenosha WI, Davenport IA, Paducah KY, etc.

posted by: goethean on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Also: I live in Wheaton, Illinois, one of the capitals of the fundamentalist Christian world, and it pains me to see a few Keyes signs in yards. There are very few, however. It could be a blow-out of hilarious proportions.

posted by: goethean on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

I don't blame you for voting for Obama - Keyes is no better in this situation than Hilary was in NY.

But enough with this Kerry nonsense. It's fairly obvious that any vote of yours for Kerry would have nothing to do with agreement with Kerry's policies, but rather a protest vote against some policies of Bush's that you don't like. Do you honestly think that with Edwards as VP, and even "No Benedict Arnold CEOs" Kerry as President that you'll see the int'l trade (or whatever issue you're upset with Bush over) policies change for the better?

So vote Obama, but enough with this attempt to appear agonized over whether to vote Bush or Kerry.

posted by: Danny on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

I doubt I'd vote for Keyes, if I lived in Illinois, but I think he's right about the 17th Amendment being a Bad Thing.

Of course, I also don't think it'll be going away any time soon. The mere mention of the idea makes Democrats have conniption fits, in my experience.

posted by: Sigivald on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

The way I see it, everyone in Illinois who splits the ticket between the senate race and the top job (minus the, maybe two, brainiacs who vote Keyes and Kerry because they like names beginning with K) is sending a much needed message to the state Republican leadership (oxymoron?) that they need to step aside before they embarrass themselves any further. If you vote a straight Dem ticket, how are they gonna figure anything out?

Come on Dan. Bush is no treat, that's for sure. But Kerry can't even run a campaign--how's he gonna run the world?

posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

He is against the 17th Amendment?

How are appointees more accountable than elected officials? Isn't that contrary to the very premise of a Republic?

posted by: Joe Grossberg on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

I've seen Alan Keyes speak before; great speaker...but oh man. I guess he will get a higher vote total than a blank space on the ballot....but it might be a close call!


posted by: GayPatriot on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Kerry can't even run a campaign--how's he gonna run the world?

The incumbent would appear to have shown that these two activities are in no way correlated.

posted by: john b on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Gotta love Keyes. He reminds me of a crazy uncle of mine.

posted by: Carleton on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Danny said:
"Do you honestly think that with Edwards as VP, and even "No Benedict Arnold CEOs" Kerry as President that you'll see the int'l trade (or whatever issue you're upset with Bush over) policies change for the better?"

Kelli said:
"Come on Dan. Bush is no treat, that's for sure. But Kerry can't even run a campaign--how's he gonna run the world?"

Are these the ringing endorsements of a wartime president from a party of optimisim which vocally opposes evil?

And when are we going to the moon? Didn't the man promise us the moon?

posted by: brent on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

The fact that the party had to go out of state to find _ALAN KEYES_ tells you all you need to know about the Illinois Republican Party. Apparently all the local idiots are too tarred with bribes for liscense or sex scandals, so they needed to go out of state for a top notch embarrassment when Mike Ditka proved unavailable. I gotta figure out who the libertarian candidate is.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Kerry can't even run a campaign--how's he gonna run the world?

The Onion "News in Brief" section nicely addresses this question:

posted by: Donny on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

If I were an Illinois Republican, I'd be seriously p*ssed at my party. Alan Keyes was the best they could come up with? What was the thinking behind that? "Ooh, people like Obama, he's black, so let's get our own black guy!"

As it is, I am a liberal from New Jersey, so Mr. Keyes, go on and say whatever you like.

posted by: Elle Wiz on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

But Kerry can't even run a campaign--how's he gonna run the world?

Hey Kelli - I happen to like Kerry, but even if I didn't - why not vote for the guy who hasn't yet proven himself an inept and dishonest President?

And if his campaign is so badly run, then why is he still pulling 49%? Oh yeah - liberal media bias. Should have known.

posted by: sebcole on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Kelli, sorry to pile on but I'm not sure you want to ask that question. A President who runs a clockwork electoral campaign while creating chaos in the most dangerous region in the world? Not my first choice. Or second. Or tenth.

I feel for you, Daniel, though there is no % chance of my voting for Bush. :-) I have voted proudly for Republicans in the past, when the party was not about pre-emption, religion, industry control of the environment, and who-cares-about-federal-spending-if-it-will-get-me-reelected.

It's not my place to say, but I wonder if some staunch Republicans aren't wondering about letting Kerry try for four years while retooling and getting a candidate they can actually be proud of.

posted by: Opus on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

This isn't just an Illinois GOP problem. They had a perfectly good alternative available, and he even lived in the state already: Jim Oberweis. He finished second in the primary, but he was ignored by Hastert (as pointed out at the link). I'm going to guess Rove was involved.

So, if you want to assess blame for Alan Keyes, you need to start with the IL GOP and keep going up.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Kerry can’t run a campaign? Kerry seems to have gotten nominated in the face of Dean’s new-fangled money machine, no appreciable early union support, and Edward’s charm and good looks. He has lost a bit of ground as a result of intense attacks on his character that seem to be beside the point. Besides, republicans have always been better political organizers. Could it be that, like Will Rogers, Kerry is not a member of an organized political party because he’s a democrat?

Illinois republicans like Dan may be ashamed of Alan Keyes, but people with his “credentials” actually have a chance of being elected here in Texas.

Kelli's comment also posits that our President has actually done a good job “running things”. To use just one example, I'm really curious just how bad it has to get in Iraq before the Bush supporters on the board realize what a colossal mess we have made in Iraq? Can anyone with a straight face make a “democratization” argument in the face of a growing insurgency? People are dying by the scores each and every day! – and its getting worse, not better.

I hate to break this to you, but we are not "running the world". We have lost the initiative in the war in Iraq – and also in the larger “war on terror” because of our force-stretching commitment in Iraq. We are reacting – not acting! Events and insurgents appear to be setting the tempo and “running us” right out of Iraq – no matter who gets elected. It is really not surprising that we are not seizing the initiative in the middle of an election campaign. It might get quite a bit bloodier in Iraq after this election – no matter who wins – but I will eat my hat if we mount a major offensive against the insurgency before November.

The worst of it, though, is the fact that no one seems to care! While we are arguing about typewriter fonts, holiday boat rides and good old boy favors from 30 years ago, we are _diverting_ funds from reconstruction to security. That is NOT a good sign.

posted by: TexasToast on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Every 2 or 4 years a collective roar of frustration escapes the great voting public: "Why must we endure the lies, half-truths, obfuscations and distortions of these damn politicians? They're making campaign promises they cannot possibly justify or keep. Just once I'd like to hear the truth spoken."

Well, no one can fault Keyes for hiding his true beliefs - and it is disturbing. I'd bet large sums of money that were *every* politician to tell the truth, most of them would sound like Keyes in one way or another.

posted by: Bruce Cleaver on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Sheesh, struck some kinda nerve today.

Two separate questions are raised by critics of my (admittedly flip) comment. First, how good of a job is J. Kerry doing running his campaign? Dunno, ask Tony Coelho, who did a fine job running Gore's into the ground. He describes the scene inside Kerry 04 as a "civil war." His numbers have slid into the crapper, despite little having gone right in the world for W these past 6 months. But, you're probably right, he's just a slow starter.

Second question, how good a job is Bush doing running the world? At least no one has given me any sanctimonious crap about the US NOT running the world. Personally, I'd give him a D+. Oh well, grade inflation, you know. So why don't I support Kerry? He doesn't have the balls to face down Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin OR Jacques Chirac. That means badasses around the world will test his mettle sooner rather than later (what's that? Dick Cheney tried to make this very point? what of it? he was right) and he'll have to get all crazy on them just to prove he's a badass too. I don't need that crap and neither do you.

People think Bush is a crazy mofo already. After the election, should he win, they'll still have to sit down and deal with him and he won't have a damn thing to prove to them. That makes my loser president a better prospect than your loser president. And if that's a little too Machiavellian for y'all, it's time to get back to class.

posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

I'm with Sigivald; repeal the 17th Amendment.

If nothing else, it would ensure Alan Keyes wouldn't even have a .0001% chance of being elected to the Senate.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Will the last SANE person left in the Illinois Republican Party, please turn out the lights before you leave....

posted by: Darren on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Okay, did Kelli just simultaneously argue that Kerry is too weak to intimidate foreign leaders AND that he'll inveitably have to do something crazy to intimidate foreign leaders?

What some people don't want to realize is that success in the war on terror is, at some point, going to involve winning some "hearts and minds". Bush is (somewhat unfairly) the most disliked man in the world today. I don't see that getting the job done.

(And then there's the deficit, and gay marriage, and civil liberties excesses,...)

posted by: Devin McCullen on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

“And if that's a little too Machiavellian for y'all, it's time to get back to class.”

I substantially agree. My grading on George W. Bush’s presidency is a bit higher than your own. Still, he is the lesser of evils. I would prefer to vote for Senator Lieberman---but the Democratic Party activists soundly rejected him. Also, I consider John Kerry to be psychologically unsound. He comes across to me as someone with a few screws loose. And no, I don’t think I’m being viciously unfair.

Oh well, a lot of this discussion may be moot. The odds indicate that a leading Democrat provided Dan Rather with the fraudulent documents. If that is indeed so, President Bush may win by a twenty point margin. Don’t laugh, New Jersey and even New York State are rapidly become toss up states for Kerry.

posted by: David Thomson on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Alan Keyes is crazier than looney bird. He reminds me of Republican Clayton Williams who in 1990 ran against Ann Richards. The dude had the election in the bag. Richards would have been lucky to get 40% of the final vote. Alas, Williams started talking like an idiot---and I had to remove his bumper sticker off my automobile! It was one the rare times I voted for a Democrat. Richards even received a modest donation from me. And yes, I put her bumper sticker on my vehicle. Richards easily won the contest.

posted by: David Thomson on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

As a liberal and an Obama fan, I have to say that I want Keyes to win just for the six years of hilarity.

posted by: EH on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

Um, Dan?

Other than your apparent unwavering belief in laissez faire capitalism, I don't actually understand why you're unhappy about voting for Kerry. The Rightwing calumnies against him are exactly that - calumnies - as a review of his record would show you.

But, even if one accepts, arguendo, that you see Kerry the way the Right does...why would you be unhappy about voting for Barak? A few Republicans said wistfully that they wished Barak *was* a Republican, that's how impressed they were with him.

posted by: CaseyL on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

He is against the 17th Amendment?

How are appointees more accountable than elected officials? Isn't that contrary to the very premise of a Republic?

The theory is that, since under the old system the individual US senators got their power from state legislatures, they wouldn't be so hog-wild to usurp states' jurisdictions (I despise the phrase "states' rights") as they have over the past century. A House that answers to the people, a Senate that answers to the states.

About David Thomson's remarks, one should note that even Clayton's gross foot-in-mouth missteps couldn't give Ann Richards more than a plurality of the vote - which shows you how divisive she was.

posted by: Alan K. Henderson on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

I voted for Keyes in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. It was a protest vote- I didn't like John McCain (gun control) and Bush was another Bush. I don't like dynasties. Also, I didn't think Bush was much of a conservative. Heh. Ah, those halcyon days. Makes one miss Bill. Getting mad over nothing, before we had real problems.

Anyway, vote Obama with a clear conscience. I am a consevative Republican, and I would vote for Obama every time for a hundred years. Keyes is nuts. A Payday bar. A Planter's Peanut Man. A Peanutbuster Parfait of Poor Public Speaking.

'Sides, Obama's convention speech kicked.

posted by: John Lynch on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

> The odds indicate that a leading Democrat
> provided Dan Rather with the fraudulent
> documents.
> Posted by David Thomson at September 15, 2004
> 05:43 PM

I didn't know that Karl Rove was a Democrat.

posted by: goethean on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

DT's more fun than a hyena on acid. I don't know where he gets his ideas, but they're sure a hoot.

posted by: CaseyL on 09.15.04 at 01:03 PM [permalink]

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